Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: That voice within

Whose voice is debating within the insular corridors of the otherwise silent individual?  Which one is the dominant voice, and how does one determine if that particular voice should be the one which attains such a prominent status and stature within the cauldron of one’s own thoughts?

We assume, of course, that when we are pondering within the insularity of our own thoughts, that the voice which speaks within is our own voice; but is it necessarily so?  Yes, yes — the traditional concept of “madness” will begin to encroach, of strange voices which begin to invade and intrude, and where schizophrenia is considered the likely explanation whenever “other” voices are considered.

But that is not what is necessarily the case.  It may be that the voice within is simply a regurgitation from a memory stored long ago — perhaps of one’s parents; a friend; an old school chum; a brother, sister or a cousin; and it is retrieved as an amalgamation of many others, besides.  More importantly, who determines the validity of what is being said, the subject of debate and the substance of the winning argument?

The danger of a soliloquy is that the lone figure who tries to figure things out on his or her own may not have all of the facts or information at hand which can lead to the right decision being made.  An unheard conversation undertaken and engaged by a singular voice may be no discussion at all; it may merely be a wrong-headed delineation based upon errors in fact and missteps in logical analysis.  That is why it is important to consult a person who specializes in a field and is knowledgeable at the outset, so that the facts gathered and the analysis conducted are sound methodologies based upon superior analytical insights and resulting in expert advice.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it is important to gather the necessary and pertinent facts about the entire process, the known administrative facets and pitfalls, etc., so that a superior decision can be reached in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, so that the voice within will avoid the mistake of listening to too many voices without which may lead him or her down the false paths of misinformation.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Retirement for Mental or Physical Incapacity: The human drama

There are other dramas, of course — of lions and similar predators; of insects beneath leaves dripping in the steam of rainforests deep within the jungles of equatorial regions rarely visited; of dogs chasing cats and cats chasing mice; of rabbits scurrying to avoid the claws of a hawk or an eagle; and then, of the human drama encompassing life, living, pain, sorrow, happiness, joy, hope and failure, all bundled up into communities where strangers walk about with smiles no longer reflecting joy or a frown implying sadness, but just an empty stage echoing from the scene that was acted out the day before.

The human drama is distinct and distinguishable from other species’ discourses of acting that may embrace the spectrum of emotions, for it is played out not merely by facial expressions, roaring of voices or whimpering of cries, but through the medium of language.  Language is the manner in which the drama is played, viewed, acted and depicted; and that makes for all of the difference in the world.  It is, as Shakespeare’s character surmised, as if all the world is a stage where each bit plays his or her part; and it is by language alone that the human drama is played.

What entrance fee is charged; how much we are willing to pay in order to witness the playing out of a specific act or drama unfolding; and in what private living rooms or bedrooms we would select for a premier viewing, we all have our preferences.  What is comprised of in other species’ dramas, perhaps we will never know, and care not about; for it is the peculiarity of the intra-species comity of needs, wants, desires and clung-to hopes for the future that link us all within the drama of the human kind.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the human drama has been magnified by the pain and anxiety compounded by the medical condition itself — of the daily fight against the pain or inner anguish; of the increasing pressures at work, complicated by threats of adverse actions, placing you or threatening to put you on a PIP; of possible termination looming on the horizon; and all the while, the struggle to maintain your health and equilibrium.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is an option that should be considered by all Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition is preventing the Federal or Postal employee from performing all of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; and however one views the unfolding drama of the next scene or act, consulting with an experienced attorney who specializes in preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits for Federal and Postal employees may be the best way of beginning the next Act of that human drama called “life beyond a Federal or Postal job”.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Feelings

There are appropriate contexts within which to consider them, as well as places, insertions, events and conversational modalities where it is partly or entirely irrelevant; but as with most things in life, the boundaries that bifurcate are not always clear and distinct.  When one is considering purely subjective circumstances, it is clearly the “appropriate” moment — of personal relationships; of a vacation to be taken; of emotions being considered.

In a court of law, it is probably not the best approach to take with a judge; although, in the sentencing phase or the “damages” argument to be made to a jury, it may be the singular force of persuasive impact that makes not only the distinction unclear, but the decision quite the decisive edge.

“Feelings” are to be reserved for puppies, late nights in bed with a fever, and how the toes tickle when lying on a grassy knoll in the middle of summer when the lone ant walks along the pathway of your bare skin.

Do we dare admit to them?  When you are in a heated argument, is it not an oxymoron to shout, “Feelings don’t have anything to do with it!”  For, what is the criteria to be applied when making a decision based upon them?  Does the spectrum of emotions never cloud one’s judgment?  Or can we, as we often claim, set them aside so easily, like so many automatons in those doomsday movies that have become popularized, where androids and mechanized juggernauts that have taken over the earth and tried to suppress humanity are now the very beings whom we always wanted to emulate?

And what of the French Existentialists and the horror of reaction to that old favorite, “Invasion of the body snatchers” — what was it that made it so fascinating, where beings were stripped of their souls and emotions were all of a sudden undone, extinguished and no longer relevant, where bodies devoid of feelings walked about the earth like so many empty tombs?

Feelings are funny animals; they make up so much of who we are, and yet we spend a lifetime trying to avoid the very essence of that which makes up who we are.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal Worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of the Federal or Postal job, the anomaly concerning “feelings” becomes quickly apparent: for, confronted with having to prepare an effective Federal Disability Retirement application before an administrative body — the U.S. Office of Personnel Management — you are asked to remain “clinical” and antiseptic in the face of “proving” the medical evidence by the cold calculus of “the law”, and yet at the same time you are trying to convey your “feelings” with respect to the impact of the pain, the anguish of anxiety or the daily levels of profound fatigue felt.

It is a tightrope, balancing act that must be done with expertise, subtle techniques and an interspersing of line-crossing deftly engaged. Completing the SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, is the single most important form in preparing a Federal Disability Retirement application, aside from gathering the proper medical documentation and making the persuasive legal argumentation.

For, in the end, that lifetime of trying to suppress those “feelings” must be utilized carefully, yet at the same time you have to be persuasive enough to touch upon the emotional makeup of a fellow human being who, also, likely has had to suppress those same feelings in order to apply “the law”.  Go figure.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Another Test

Peel an orange, and you have the fruit; skin a nut, and the unmasked food is revealed; but how does one get to the essence of a person?  Schools do it repetitively; job interviews count on it; security clearances rely upon it.  Life is one set of tests after another; and whether through formalized questions designed to reveal the extent of rote knowledge, or of more subtle encounters to discover one’s character, the attempt to unravel the essence of an individual comes in many forms, in multitudinous appearances, and in engagements which never fully define the person tested.

Some see it as merely a necessary irritant; others, as a challenge to be faced with relish; and still others, an angst to be avoided, like the proverbial plague which leaves scars of motley disfigurement to the heart of one’s soul.  Whether to avoid or to directly confront, life presents a series of challenges, and the test of relevance is not necessarily the score to achieve, but rather the responsiveness which engenders cause.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are daily “tested” because of a medical condition which prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties with the job requirements of the Federal or Postal employment, the issue becomes one of survival, or not.  At some point, the test itself becomes irrelevant, and must be replaced altogether.  Whether the agency views it as such — or, more appropriately, it has now turned into harassment and hostility — the basis of such testing becomes an absurdity.

That is when the Federal or Postal employee, whether under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, must consider filing for Federal Employee Disability Retirement benefits.  There again, it is likened to another “test” to be faced and undertaken.  For, the bureaucratic morass which must be tolerated is inextricable entangled with the preparation, formulation, proving and filing of an effective Federal Disability Retirement case, where the evidence must be gathered, the test of viability of the case itself becomes of concern, and the next steps in encountering and facing the “test of life” must be faced.  Oh, but that life would refrain from the constancy of death, taxes and tests.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Disability Retirement: Extending the Vibrancy of Life

Much of life is spent in avoidance and protective retreat; it is only in the ignorance of youthful exuberance that we recklessly run into the streets without looking for oncoming traffic.  Sports reflects the truth of that human essence; it is not an accident that we witness the repetitive folly of gaining an early lead, only to act in fear of losing and thereby fulfilling the prophesies of our own making.

The question, then, for Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s positional duties — is it an option to remain?

If the answer to that question is an unequivocal “no”, then the two other choices harken: File for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, or wait until the agency fires you or forces you to resign.  If the latter, then the Federal or Postal employee still has up until 1 year to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the date of separation, whether through termination or separation by voluntary (or “forced”) resignation.

Avoidance of the issue will not do; at some point, either the decision to move forward in life will be made by the central actor in the cast (you), or by the supporting residue surrounding the play (the Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service).

In the end, the vibrancy of one’s life is not determined by blindness or disregard of one’s circumstances, but by recognizing the steps necessary to enliven daily value.  One’s career and the extension of worthwhile work is always important to one’s life, but when a medical condition begins to exacerbate and devalue the substantive content of one’s life, then it is time to move beyond and search for an extension of that vibrancy of life.

Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is often a “first step” in achieving and resetting that youthful exuberance we once felt, but lost along the way, precisely because it allows for a base security of the foundational needs of living:  an annuity obtained, then time to recuperate from one’s medical conditions and determine a course for the future.

One need not be looking back with fear of losing the game, as the repetition of sports history will reveal; rather, the future still can hold the key to extending the vibrancy of life once grasped, but somehow lost in the morass of our busy lives.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

FERS & CSRS Disability Retirement: The Little Engine that Couldn’t

It is an educational tool utilized to impart upon children the value of hard work and unfettered optimism, but one wonders, At what point should the harsh realities of the world be included?  How, sometimes there are situations where the obstacles are so great and the conspiratorial caverns so deep that the graph of upward mobility is but a mere mirage in life’s cycle of certitude. The balance between the benefit of maintaining optimism in the face of adversity, and tempering unrealistic expectations, is a scale of justice which is delicately configured throughout life.

While the tale of the Little Engine that Could represents the cultural and societal impetus for encouraging work, fair play, persistence and a positive attitude, some of life’s obstacles serve to cut short the capacity and ability to achieve stated first goals.  Medical conditions tend to do that.  Whether primarily physical or secondarily psychiatric, or inversely impacted, a progressively debilitating medical condition saps the self-confidence of the individual, and eats away at the abilities of the patient.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers, when a medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing all of the essential elements of the positional duties of the Federal or Postal employee, consideration must be given to one’s future, and that future planning should include filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Eligibility for OPM Disability Retirement benefits encompasses all Federal and Postal employees, whether one is under FERS or CSRS, so long as the Federal or Postal employee has met the minimum eligibility requirements: 18 months of Federal Service for those under FERS, and 5 years for those under CSRS (which is essentially assumed that anyone under CSRS already has at least 5 years of Federal Service).

Further, if the Federal or Postal employee is still on the rolls of the agency or the U.S. Postal Service, or has not been separated for more than 31 days, then the Federal Disability Retirement application must be routed first through one’s Human Resource Office of one’s Federal agency or the U.S. Postal Service (for the latter, the central processing point for all Federal Disability Retirement applications for Postal Workers is located in Greensboro, N.C.), then to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in Boyers, PA.

Implicit in this requirement, of course, is that there is a “Statute of Limitations” as to filing a Federal Disability Retirement application.  All Federal Disability Retirement applications must be filed within 1 year from the date of separation from Federal Service.  Thus, if a Federal or Postal employee is terminated, or has resigned, and a Federal Disability Retirement application is filed, the (now former) Federal or Postal employee must file within 1 year of the date of separation — but if separated for less than 31 days, then through one’s former agency or U.S. Postal Service, and if over 31 days, then directly to Boyers, PA, which is the “intake” processing office for OPM for all Federal Disability Retirement applications.

Whether the Federal or Postal employee ever read or heard tell of the tale of the Little Engine that Could, the time for filing for OPM Disability Retirement benefits is when that proverbial engine gives out, and when life’s harsh realities turns the story of optimism and hope into a pragmatic approach in order to secure one’s future; for, sometimes, life accords engines which need fine-tuning, and medical conditions represent just that sort of mechanical need, for the Little Engine that once Could which turned into the Little Engine that Couldn’t.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire